In September 2019, word of possible federal intervention on homelessness in California by the Administration circulated in the news. Then, on Monday, September 16th, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers released a troubling "State of Homelessness in America" report, which outlined actions the Administration may take as part of this intervention.
January 2017-Present: President Trump leads an administration focused on policy changes that create and perpetuate homelessness, to include requesting massive funding cuts to anti-poverty programs, eliminating the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, adding work requirements to Medicaid and food stamps, and expanding penalties for immigrants who use social benefit programs (just to name a few).
July 2019: In an interview with Tucker Carlson, President Trump commented on the homelessness crisis, expressing extreme concern (particularly at the visibility of homelessness). He largely blames liberals and sanctuary cities for the homelessness “phenomena that started two years ago.”
Mid-September 2019: White House officials toured public housing and encampments in California and news broke that the Trump administration was considering action on homelessness. Advocates are very concerned that impending action would further criminalize homelessness.
Late September 2019: The White House Council of Economic Advisors released a report: The State of Homelessness in America. The report misrepresents evidence and asserts that homelessness is caused by overregulation of housing markets, the “tolerability” and availability of shelters, and “individual characteristics” like mental illness and poverty.
Funders Together to End Homelessness is working with our Board of Directors, national partners, and close advisers around the philanthropic response and possible long-term strategies.We are also working to provide resources, talking points, media opportunities, member and partners statements, and other related content for funders which will be compiled on this resource page. We encourage you to check back often or reach out to Funders Together if you would like assistance in crafting messaging for a statement of your own.
If your organization has a resource or statement you would like listed here, please contact Lauren Bennett.
Funders Together Resources
California Health Care Foundation: White House Puts National Spotlight on California Homelessness
Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland: “Housing is the Answer” – SOCF Statement on White House Homelessness Report
United Way of Greater Los Angeles: President Trump's Visit to LA
National Alliance to End Homelessness: Statement from the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Response to the White House Council of Economic Advisers’ Report on Homelessness
National Alliance to End Homelessness: White House Council of Economic Advisers' State of Homelessness in America Talking Points
National Health Care for the Homeless Council: An Open Letter to President Trump from National Homeless Advocates
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty:White House Policy Paper on Homelessness Misrepresents Evidence, Drives Wrong Conclusions
National Low Income Housing Coalition: Statement from NLIHC President & CEO Diane Yentel on The Council of Economic Advisers’ Report on Homelessness in America
Urban Institute: The Homelessness Blame Game
The 2020 Census is less than a year away, but the work to ensure a fair and accurate count for our communities is far from over. Funders Together to End Homelessness, along with nearly thirty other philanthropy serving organizations (PSOs) and funders, contributed to an amicus curiae brief to contest the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
Regardless of the topic, whenever I leave the flurry of work and family life for three days to attend a funder network meeting, I can’t help but find myself wondering “Will it be worth it?” It was much easier to embrace this risk after learning that the 2019 Funders Forum would be held in San Diego at a time of year when my home town, Omaha, Nebraska, has endured a particularly brutal winter including more than 50 inches of snow and -20-degree temperatures.
On February 20, 2019, nearly 50 funders convened in San Diego at the 2019 Funders Forum to learn about unsheltered homelessness and building both public and political will to end it. Held in conjunction with the National Alliance to End Homelessness's Solutions for Individual Homeless Adults national conference, attendees had the opportunity to learn about unsheltered homelessness, responses to address unsheltered homelessness from communities across the country, how funders can support the work to end it, and how to build the public and political will to change the system.
For information and resources on unsheltered homelessness, visit our Unsheltered Homelessness Resource page.
Read more about the 2019 Funders Forum in the convening recap by Kristin Williams of the Sherwood Foundation.Read more
Most members of Funders Together to End Homelessness represent institutional philanthropy -- private, endowed foundations; community foundations; corporations; or United Ways. Yet the vast majority of charitable donations in the U.S. come from individuals and it has been a goal of Funders Together for a number of years to increase membership among individual philanthropists.
Over the past year, we have seen new proposals that threaten to further reduce access to affordable housing for the lowest income people, including austere budgets and cuts to housing benefits that help struggling families make ends meet. However, with the support of philanthropy, advocates across the country have been able to push back against these harmful plans. This partnership – between philanthropy and skilled advocacy – resulted in major victories. Sarah Mickelson, Senior Director of Policy at the National Low Income Housing Coalition outlines the affordable housing "wins" and what we can expect in the coming months.
In July at the 2018 Funders Institute, attendees gathered to share what they are learning about homelessness prevention, including what it is and how to work effectively with other systems to really end homelessness. The highly interactive day included a panel discussion, speed networking on what we’re each learning in our work, roundtable discussions, and opportunity to connect with multiple national leaders.
Funders Together Resources
As part of an ongoing effort to provide support and programming on advocacy, we've compiled resources that can aid you in starting and continuing the conversation in your work to prevent and end homelessness.
Funders can and should be advocates for policies and funding streams that can end and prevent homelessness. Understand the legal restrictions on private foundations’ advocacy efforts with this resource.
While there are numerous policies that may affect homelessness services and prevention, we stand behind these key policy principles.
From Our Members
Campion Foundation - Advocacy Spectrum and Tools
Published by Council on Foundations, this report explains “lobbying” versus networking and includes a step-by-step guide to contacting policymakers.
This report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy discusses best practices and the impact of philanthropic dollars devoted to advocacy.
Funders in Action: An Example of Funder Advocacy
Texas education grantmakers knew that they needed to act when the state government cut $5.4 billion from the education budget in 2011. Funders began seeing the impacts quickly; requests for grants increased dramatically from organizations that used to receive support from public schools and public-private partnerships were in danger of falling apart. In response, funders formed the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) to push back against the massive spending cuts. Because the group was focused on the budget -- and did not get into political ideologies or education reform debates -- it was able to convene and mobilize an unprecedented number of grantmakers throughout Texas. TEGAC also invested $100,000 in research to help shape the public narrative. The programs affected by the budget cuts were the same programs that studies proved to be effective! In May 2013, the Texas legislature reinstated $4 billion out of the $5.4 billion in education funds. Although TEGAC did not take credit for the restoration of funding, the mobilization of funders and the broad support for advocacy had a tangible statewide impact. Read more about this story here.
Please contact Amanda Andere if you would like to discuss advocacy issues further.
An accurate census count is essential to our efforts to prevent and end homelessness. The numbers from the 2020 Census will be used to determine funding and service levels for the next ten years. We know that along with individuals experiencing homelessness, racial minorities, immigrants, young people, and people in poverty are historically hard to count. The 2020 Census is already facing new challenges including budget constraints, online response, and scaled back door-to-door outreach and canvassing.
As a field, the homelessness sector has experience and expertise counting these individuals. As funders, we can support our grantees to help ensure a fair and accurate count. Additionally, funders across the country are coming together to support local planning, inform policy makers, and to educate nonprofits.
The links below are a culmination of resources provided by our partners and members. If you are interested in having additional conversations on how the 2020 Census will specifically impact our efforts, please reach out to Lauren Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Learning Opportunities
From Funders Together
Funders Together to End Homelessness, along with nearly thirty other philanthropy serving organizations (PSOs) and funders, contributed to an amicus curiae brief to contest the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The brief, submitted to the Supreme Court, provides concrete examples of how philanthropy relies on census data to support their missions, and, in turn, why the citizenship question is detrimental to efforts to effectively serve and invest in their communities.
In this webinar, we explored where current Census operations are, why philanthropy investing in housing and homelessness programs should care about the count, what some of the concerns and barriers are to counting people experiencing homelessness, and how funders can be an integral part in fair and accurate Census efforts in their community. We also heard from the Polk Bros. Foundation in Chicago on its role in the Illinois Count Me In 2020 campaign, how it supports efforts outside of funding, and the importance of bringing in funders from other sectors through mindful collaboration and coordination.
United State Census Bureau
- Area Census Offices for the 2020 Census
- 2020 Early Area Census Offices List
- Why Your Foundation Should Become a 2020 Census Partner
- How The Census Will Invite Everyone To Respond
From Our Partners
United Philanthropy Forum
- A Call for Philanthropy to Help Meet Unprecedented Challenges Facing the 2020 Census
- Census 2020: Why an Accurate Count Matters to Philanthropy
- A Critical Moment for the 2020 Census and Why Philanthropy Should Care
- Foundation Sign-on Letter: The Funders Census Initiative under the leadership of the Bauman Foundation circulated a sign-on letter for foundations.
Funders' Committee for Civic Participation
- Census 2020 Resources
- Participate. Convene. Invest. – A Call to Action for Philanthropy
- 7 Things Funders Can Do To Support Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA)
- Key 2020 Census Funder Milestones
- Census 2020 State Landscape Scan
- Citizenship Question Supreme Court Decision Day Funder Resource Guide
The Leadership Conference Education Fund
Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality
- Citizen Question Non-Response:A Demographic Profile of People Who Do Not Answer the American Community Survey Citizenship Question
- Counting People Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide to 2020 Census Operations
Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees
Brennan Center for Justice
- Where Things Stand in the Citizenship Question Lawsuits (Oct 12, 2018)
National Conference of State Legislatures
From Our Members